News & Events

Enterprise Ireland urges companies to prepare now for Brexit as survey reveals lack of readiness

Customs is a recognised priority for most companies but

  • More than 40% yet to decide how to pay customs charges
  • More than 30% yet to decide who will manage customs procedures
  • Companies urged to address key customs issues now

With just 35 days to Brexit new survey results released by Enterprise Ireland raise concerns over customs readiness ahead of Brexit.

A survey by IHS Markit of 600 companies on the PMI panel in Ireland, along with analysis of companies which have completed Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Readiness Checker, reveals a worrying lack of customs preparedness of Irish companies.

The survey of 600 companies demonstrated that, while more than half (52%) of companies view customs and logistics as a priority, only 42% feel they are significantly or fully ready.  Of the 600 companies surveyed 22% were still figuring out what they need to do in relation to top priority issues.

As the 1st January deadline fast approaches Enterprise Ireland, in conjunction with the Local Enterprise Network, is holding a series of five regional webinars for all business commencing 7th December next (details below).  

In addition to the IHS Markit data, analysis of companies who have completed the Brexit Readiness Checker reveals specific evidence of this lack of preparation business:

  •  50% have yet to decide who will manage all documentation and procedures when their goods arrive in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland).
  • More than 30% yet to decide if customs procedures will be managed in-house or through a broker/intermediary
  • 44% have not decided how they will pay customs charges
  • More than 50% have yet to determine the potential tariff of their goods

Responding to the analysis Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, TD said, “This year has been devastating for many business owners. It would be understandable if Brexit was the last thing on their minds. However, Britain leaving the customs union and single market at the end of this year will bring major changes. There is a real risk of delays and loss of income, which would be really damaging for any business. We are appealing to businesses to get ready now. There is a lot of help available. A good first step is to use our Brexit Readiness Checker, which will show you exactly what you need to do for your own business. I know there has been a huge amount to contend with this year already, but I really urge businesses to prioritise getting ready now and use the help that is there. There are 35 days left until the end of the year and time is of the essence.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy, TD, urged businesses to get ‘Brexit-ready’ and to revisit their Brexit plans.  He said, “I know that this comes at a time of ongoing and extreme pressure on businesses as they work through the current pandemic and may not be trading as they normally would have. The Government stands with business, ready to assist in managing the coming change.  I am very concerned by recent reports from Revenue that there are significant numbers of business who trade with UK but have not yet registered for an EORI number, the first basic step needed to trade with the UK. Businesses need to devote time to take this first step and to decide how to manage their customs overheads from 1 January. If they don’t, they will simply be unable to transact business with the UK.  There are supports available to help businesses with customs which I urge them to explore, such as Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Ready for Customs’ grant which provides up to €9,000 per employee engaged in customs work. I strongly encourage businesses to learn about the options available to them and to consider availing of them.”

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD also urged businesses to act, saying, “Brexit will become real for many Irish businesses who trade into and out of the UK from January 1st 2021.  While many have finalised their customs preparedness plans there is still time for businesses to determine if there have any vulnerabilities due to Brexit on this aspect of their trading activity.  As we approach the last month of the transition period I urge businesses to ensure they are customs compliant and if necessary to engage with their supply chain to seek the assurances they need to ensure a continuity of supply of goods for their operations and their customers.  I would also urge businesses to register and log on for the regional Brexit webinars that Enterprise Ireland are running from 7th December.  These will highlight the vital areas where business needs to take action and signpost how companies can take action now to avoid disruption on 1st January.”

Giles O’Neill, Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Unit, stated, “The Enterprise Ireland online Brexit Readiness Checker outlines the areas where preparation is vital and provides information and resources on how to take action.  The key questions companies need to address now to be ready for customs include:

  • Have you secured your EORI number?
  • Have you determined the commodity code for your products?
  • Have you identified who will manage customs procedures and paperwork – will it be in-house or through a broker/intermediary?
  • Have you determined who will have responsibility for all documentation and processing your goods moving to, from or through Britain?
  • Have you the trained personnel in place to manage your customs processes and have you applied for the Ready for Customs grant to support these staff? 

Giles O’Neill emphasised the degree of urgency about customs readiness, “The results of this analysis are concerning. Irrespective of the result of EU/UK negotiations, customs procedures will be a reality for Irish exporters from 1January.  This means that any Irish company moving goods to, from or through the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) will have to complete customs procedures.  Even if they use a customs intermediary there are important aspects of the customs process they will be responsible for and need to have trained staff in place. Time is fast running out for business to get ready.”